The danger of finding your purpose and passion

The danger of finding your purpose and passion

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak to students at a university in Tirana. After thinking about what could be of some impact on the lives of people who are going to get into the labor market soon I decided to talk to them about what my life had been, in the hope to give them some pointers on what to repeat and what to avoid.

While preparing the speech, I stumbled on a fact of my life that I already knew but that sounded correct when expressed the way I put it. When I gave the speech I didn't give this fact the emphasis it deserved so I thought of writing about it here to share with my readers.

In the talk, I explained how I found my purpose in life, helping people, and my passion; technology and programming. That point of the speech had this slide:

I have been trying to do that my whole life.

What happens when you align your purpose and your passion is that you are really happy working. The person who said the famous phrase,

“Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

had definitely aligned his passion and purpose.

But work is work. A referent teacher in my life used to say;

“work is a punishment of God, as a punishment, you can imagine...”

The issue is that since you are happily working hour after hour, passionate about what you are doing, and enjoying what you are doing, the days fly by. You dedicate time to your purpose leaving behind crucial parts of your life, mostly the people you love.

On the other side, the people you love see you happy and passionate, fulfilling your dream so tend to leave you aside and say things like "you are enjoying yourself, having fun" ignorant of the sacrifice you are doing, of the toll that work has on your mental and physical wellbeing. The days become months, the months years... you end up in a lonely place.

Finding and pursuing your dream is an incredible blessing and a heavy curse.

I just remembered a part of Daniel Sloss Jigsaw show (thanks Elis), where he explains that life is a puzzle and you have to put in the center of that puzzle what makes YOU happy. Society tells us to put our partner there and at the same time it tells us to pursue our dreams. I'm not sure you can do both things... society is really screwed up and needs a massive change to align with people's happiness.

In that same show, which I recommend, he also says:

I'm a white, heterosexual, middle classed, marginally successful, extremely well-hung man. I have no struggles

Maybe, that is all I have, no real problems, so I create my own by seeing my luck of having aligned my passion and my purpose as a handicap. Looking for the things that are missing instead of the blessings I have found through my journey.

I know I put a lot of pressure on the people around me. That “always on” mode is taxing on family, coworkers, and employees and it is inevitable for me to fall into burnout after days/weeks of being alone, in an endless cycle of ups and downs that punishes my relations.

In any case, as I end the talk, in my case, it is worth it, worth every person I have touched and that has touched me. Every person I still have to help and that will enrich me till the end.

Be careful!


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